A feature-length movie filmed entirely via smartphone will be screened in conventional theaters, highlighting the growing creative potential of mobile devices and proving they can support high-quality art.
“Olive” differs from previous smartphone films like Park Chan-wook’s iPhone short “Paranmanjang” because director Hooman Khalili intends to screen his movie in mainstream theaters — and submit it for Oscar consideration.
The director is fundraising through website Kickstarter in the hopes of generating enough revenue to distribute the film without the backing of a major movie studio, making “Olive” a truly independent film.
“Olive” is a product of the emerging new options for artists and movie makers inherent in mobile technology. The small size of cell phone cameras allow for a greater range of viewpoints than typically cumbersome movie cameras, which means stories can be told from new perspectives.
“Olive” tells the story of a silent little girl who changes three lives. The film stars two-time Academy Award nominee Gena Rowlands, as well as Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
The movie was shot using the Nokia N8′s 12-megapixel camera and a customized 35mm lens adapter, attached with double-stick tape. The mobility of the phone also made for a shallow depth of field and easier maneuvering. Khalili attached the N8 to ladders, helicopters, and motorcycles to capture some of the shots in the film.
Filmmakers aren’t the only creative types embracing mobile technology. Iconic photographer Annie Leibowitz recently said the iPhone is her preferred method of shooting pictures, and a group of prominent modern artists are in the process of creating digital masterpieces made exclusively for computers and smartphones.
For budding artists, the lower cost of cell phone cameras may be alluring, and the trend may lead phone makers to focus on installing high-quality lenses in their devices.
Films like “Olive” demonstrate that technology is bringing new artistic opportunities to the masses, and that high-quality art can be produced using mobile equipment. The possibilities are endless.